Jesus of Nazareth told his followers to

love your neighbor.

Many of Gilroy’s churches have long traditions of reaching
beyond their doors, outside their own congregations, to serve the
South Valley community in which they are located.
Jesus of Nazareth told his followers to “love your neighbor.” Many of Gilroy’s churches have long traditions of reaching beyond their doors, outside their own congregations, to serve the South Valley community in which they are located.

Gilroy’s First Baptist Church, 8455 Wren Ave., illustrates this type of outreach through membership in the consortium of churches which support St. Joseph’s Family Center, feeding the homeless at the National Guard Armory, regularly hosting the Red Cross Blood Drives and many other ways.

Now the congregation invites all local residents to an educational series of 12 sessions to be held at the church on Sunday mornings from 9 to 10:30. Beginning on Dec. 2, the course lasts through Feb. 24.

Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project will be team-taught by the Rev. Timothy Howe, the church’s senior pastor, and Haran and Joy Schoming, a couple who recently facilitated another course for the community, one concerning world religions.

The Truth Project came about because of a research study showing that “only nine percent of professing Christians have a biblical world view.” The implication: “Today’s believers live very similarly to nonbelievers, losing their bearings, beginning to wonder what life’s purpose is.”

The class includes a DVD-based small group curriculum taught by Dr. Del Tackett, a seminary professor and former director of technical planning for the National Security Council. Each lesson discusses “the relevance and importance of living the Christian world view in daily life.”

Issues covered include these topics:

n “Veritology”: defining truth

n Ethics: distinguishing right from wrong

n Anthropology: the nature of humans

n Theology: the nature of God

n Science: intelligent design versus Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The material of this stimulating course which explains the relevance of the Bible today is appropriate for ages high school through senior citizens. Pastor Howe invites visitors: “There is no charge to participate, no pressure to stay for the subsequent worship service and coffee will be provided.” For more information, call (408) 847-6000.

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Another congregation with a history of assisting the residents of South County is Gilroy’s South Valley Community Church, 8095 Kelton Drive. Two projects which are connected with the Christmas season are especially timely right now:

n Angel Tree is an opportunity for members to donate new toys and clothes to help local children whose parents are incarcerated.

n Adopt-a-Family is a project of the students at the church’s affiliated school, Pacific West Christian Academy. Fifteen or 20 struggling families are chosen during the holidays to receive food, clothing, toys and other gifts.

According to Associate Pastor Mark Turner, the church “feels strongly about being involved in all aspects of the community. We feel this is an important component in demonstrating the love of Christ in a practical way.”

There are many other examples of community service projects which recur throughout the year:

n Adopt-a-Block: helping residents of neighborhoods with yard cleanup and minor home repairs

n Breakfast at Sunset Gardens: monthly meal provided for residents of this senior-living facility

n Upward Sports: providing opportunities for flag football, basketball and cheer leading to neighborhood youth

n Montera Village: distributing food at this apartment complex.

To learn more about worthy community outreach or to volunteer help, call South Valley Community Church at (408) 848-2363.

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